Press Release
November 29, 2006


"Kung gusto, maraming paraan; kung ayaw, maraming dahilan," this was Senator Richard Gordon's reaction to COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos' statement that automation for the 2007 polls can't be done.

Gordon authored and sponsored the electoral automation bill that hopes to automate the whole voting, counting, transmission and canvassing process, and this was approved by the Senate last month. A counterpart bill had also been approved by the House of Representatives, and both Houses of Congress are now on the verge of approving the consolidated version.

"What I do not understand from the COMELEC is this - It is their constitutional duty to implement all election laws. We are almost finished with the bicameral report and COMELEC can expect this to become law in a few days. Will they just ignore it? Isn't that dereliction of duty?" Gordon emphasized.

"Commissioner Abalos always speaks up to say it cannot be done. But what do the other commissioners have to say about it?"

"It seems that Commissioner Abalos has no intention whatsoever of establishing an automated system. Apparently he has no intention of cleaning up the electoral process. Even under the old law he was already mandated to have full automation - yet he never even got around to looking for new machines. Instead, he wants to use the old machines that the Supreme Court has already declared as illegal. Yun yung pinipilit niya, bagaman sinabi na ng korte suprema na illegal yung mga makinang yun dahil sa laganap na mga katiwalian sa pagpili ng mga supplier."

"Instead, he tries to blame Congress. He cannot blame Congress. We had been working hard on the bill, both here and in the lower house. In fact, he never even attended the hearings on the new bill. He can hardly claim that he pushed for these amendments. At the very least, Abalos should have implemented the existing law that demanded automation. This he did not do."

"The new bill is flexible, allowing COMELEC to use different kinds of machines in different areas, to try out the system in a few provinces and cities first so our people can learn, be exposed and have faith again in their right to vote."

"Congress is doing its job. What about Commissioner Abalos?" Gordon asked.

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